The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs


cities and the internet

The analogies to the internet are hard to miss, especially since this article is what finally prompted me to read this, along with this thread on the Athenaeum.

You can view the internet as a city on multiple levels. There are of course individual platforms, like the social networks, but the internet itself is also a space individuals can live in (like this website). Perhaps that's a kind of mountain man rural living, but I don't think it is. I think the internet itself is a city, but people have invented big asylums in it and trapped us all inside. (Re: h2g2).

Nadia talks about privacy. I think the ideas can also apply equally well to moderation.

I'm reading this book simultaneously with "The End of Trust", a collection by the EFF.

didactic style

Jacobs uses a lot of contrasting anecdotes to illustrate her points, showing the effects of the projects and the contrasting it with the sidewalk life (often just blocks away, or on the other side of the street)

Annotations & Highlights

We are all very near despair. The sheathing that floats us over its waves is compounded of hope, faith in the unexplainable worth and sure issue of effort, and the deep, sub-conscious content which comes from the exercise of our powers

This ubiquitous principle is the need of cities for a most intricate and close-grained diversity of uses that give each other constant mutual support, both economically and socially.

There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served

The all-essential line between public service and privacy would be transgressed by insti­tutio­naliz­ati

Social key recovery vs key management services

the people of the place must enlarge their private lives if they are to have anything approaching equivalent contact with their neighbors.

Like when the only way to have a social life on the internet is to be an influencer

Lowly, unpurposeful and random as they may appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city’s wealth of public life may grow.

Nor are sidewalks apt to be safe, even with eyes upon them, if they are bordered by a population which is constantly and rapidly turning over in residence

This is I think the biggest departure the present (and future) bring. Transent communities seem more andmore prevalent, or even desireable.

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